A quick rundown on the accuracy of my various drug-induced epiphanies

So I am reading Shattered, Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes’ dishy new book about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential loss in the Presidential election for the 2016 election My World Of Flops entry. And while it can be heartbreaking to relive that particular loss enough time has passed that I’m able to look back with a certain detachment.

This Hillary lady seems to dislike that Trump fellow even more than I do! 

This Hillary lady seems to dislike that Trump fellow even more than I do! 

That detachment would have been impossible in the immediate aftermath of her loss, when the pain and despair engendered by Trump’s stunning win was almost too intense and overpowering to even process. I was stunned by Trump’s win in part because I had personally attended the Republican National Convention that nominated Trump. It was an affair considerably less professional, dignified and cohesive than the open mic-stage of the Gathering of the Juggalos. I was also stunned because I had experienced a premonition that Clinton would not only win, but score a decisive, even historic, victory.

This premonition of Clinton’s resounding victory occurred during one of a handful of drug-fueled epiphanies I have experienced over the last twenty-two years. And it didn’t just happen once, it happened twice! How could an epiphany experienced both during a Phish show and the Gathering of the Juggalos be wrong? 

That made me look back at all of my various drug-fueled epiphanies. I came to realize that they were frequently wrong, and maybe a questionable way of making life choices. With that in mind, here’s a trip back in time to see how accurate my drug-fueled epiphanies turned out to be 

1st Drug-Induced Epiphany #1: Le Chateau Co-Op, 1994, Overwhelming sense of the interconnectedness of the universe during my first acid trip in 1994 

These are the gents what performed that night. 

These are the gents what performed that night. 

Context: After having taken some pretty strong acid and several Valium during a punk rock concert at my co-op my sophomore year of college at The University of Wisconsin, I had the drug-induced epiphany that even though we may all look different on the outside, we’re all secretly bound together in a universal harmonic flow.

How accurate did drug-induced epiphany turn out to be?

I don’t want to be cynical, but Trump’s election betrays the unfortunate truth that my fellow Americans are perhaps not all my brothers and sisters. It turns out a lot of my countrymen are just racist, sexist, gun-fetishizing pieces of shit who I’d like to punch right in the face. That leads me to believe that perhaps this particular epiphany was pretty off target. 

2nd Drug-Induced Epiphany: The universe is fundamentally kind and I would finish the book I was working on 

Context: I flew to Bethel Woods, New York for Phish’s 2011 in a state of profound emotional crisis. I was having what felt like either a nervous breakdown, a manic episode or both, and I’d committed myself to pin balling madly around the country chasing Phish without any real preparation or forethought. 

I was convinced that I would not make it through my weird, long trip, that I’d die in some weird town, not my own. Then I took a fuck-ton of stimulants and psychedelics the night the tour opened and had the drug-induced epiphany that, despite what the fear at the core of my being told me, I would get through this, and I would finish the book because the universe was fundamentally kind and loving, and not predatory and grim as I had thought. 

How accurate did drug-induced epiphany turn out to be?

I got lucky. I finished the book and it got a really nice response, but despite the encouraging early success of this site, I’m still not sure I would characterize the universe as fundamentally benevolent right now. In fact, ,I’d go so far as to say that it’s pretty fucked up. 

Your humble author, either pre or post-epiphany

Your humble author, either pre or post-epiphany

3rd Drug-Induced Epiphany: I should abandon my dreams of being an author and re-commit myself to my job as a staff writer for The A.V. Club

Context: I drove myself half-insane writing You Don’t Know Me But You Don’t Like Me, and the three books that preceded it as as well. Looking back, I still can’t figure out how I managed to write four books without taking a hiatus from my job as the head writer of The A.V Club. It took a toll on me and during some manner of Molly or LSD-inspired reflection in the summer of 2011, I decided that my problem was that I was overly ambitious and greedy, and that if I just recommitted myself to my job at The A.V Club and gave up on becoming a successful author, then I’d finally know sustainable professional happiness. 

How accurate did drug-induced epiphany turn out to be?

Not remotely accurate. In the sixth years since I decided to make The A.V Club my entire professional future, I’ve quit it twice (in 2013 and just recently) and they recently cancelled my (and their longest running) column. Not long after I got fired from The Dissolve I gave up on ever finding a staff job in writing, so my drug-fueled epiphany that my future lie in a salaried position at The A.V Club turned out not to be true. 

This feels like a little better fit 

This feels like a little better fit 

4th drug-induced epiphany: I should ask my girlfriend to marry me

Context: I felt desperately lonely and more than a little insane during the summer of 2011 as I followed Phish for two very strange, very drug-addled weeks or so throughout the midwest and east coast in a series of Greyhound buses, taxis, trains and planes. During one concert somewhere in the East Coast (I’m thinking it was New Jersey, but things were understandably a little fuzzy around that time) I came to several realizations. One, was that I loved the TV shows Community and Parks & Recreation and should let everyone I knew involved with them know that, and also that when I got back home I should ask my girlfriend to marry me. 

How accurate did drug-fueled epiphany turn out to be?

Very Accurate! I did ask my girlfriend to marry me just before Phish’s final show on their 2011 Summer tour and on July 3rd, we will have been married for five years and have a wonderful baby boy. 

5th drug-induced epiphany: Donald Trump would be defeated in the biggest landslide in American history and our long national nightmare of him dominating every news cycle would be over. 

Context: I’m not gonna lie or sugarcoat things: throughout the Republican primaries and general election, that Trump cat laid a real heavy trip on me. I wasn’t feeling him at all. So I wrote a bunch of stuff that was all, “Blah, blah, blah, Donald Trump is bad” and despite that Paul Revere-like warning to the American public, we elected that toxic orange nut-ball President all the same. And he sucks. Big time. Like, major tool. 

Anywho, during Insane Clown Posse climactic’s set at the 2016 Gathering of the Juggalos and Phish’s second Atlanta show in 2016, I took a bunch of drugs and realized that there was no way that Donald Trump could possibly be elected President. He was too crazy, and too extreme, and his viewpoints were too radical and bigoted for the American people. He was nothing more than a fad, a craze, the hugely popular but short-lived Pet Rock of American Presidential Politics. 

Trump wouldn’t just be defeated: he’d be demolished. It would be the biggest landslide in American history and Trump would go back to being this sad, fringe figure, shouting at people with real power from a safe distance. 

How accurate did my epiphany turn out to be? 

Inaccurate. That Donald Trump jerk ended up getting elected President and we’re in a whole mess o’ trouble now. That drug-fueled epiphany turned out to be real wrong. 


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